Saturday, May 18Food Security Matters

Cochin Chicken: History, Behavior, and Breed Information

The Cochinchina chicken breed (or simply Cochin chicken) is poultry native to China. its name refers to its large size and the country where it originated. It is considered a heavy breed of meat chicken.

One of the most important characteristics of the Cochin chicken, in addition to its large size, is its legs are completely covered with feathers (known as boots).

Origin of the Cochin Chicken

Cochin is derived from heavy breeds of chickens with long feathers like its ancestor from the Nagoya breed. Brought from the China region to Europe and North America in the 1840s and 1850s.

These birds were originally named “Shanghai chickens”, but due to their large size and being originally from China, they became known as “cochin-chinas”. Because they were large, docile birds with voluminous plumage, they attracted a lot of attention, rapidly increasing the interest of poultry-raising countries. Described this season as “chicken fever.”

Little time passed for the Cochin to be included in the first edition of the Standard of Excellence of the “American Poultry Association” in 1874. In this description, the colors of the breed were: White, Partridge, Beige, and Black. Other colors that we currently have were added later.

Cochin Roster
Cochin Roster

Characteristics of the Cochin Chicken

When this hen began to be imported, there was high hope in productive farms, but this did not work out, it already had enough plumage on its legs, which did not make it suitable for chicken coops.

The characteristics of the Cochin are:

  • It is one of the largest breeds of chickens in the world (large and wide body).
  • The feathers on its legs are one of its most distinctive features.
  • Its plumage is very soft and voluminous, with long and loose feathers.
  • Have a calm temperament.
  • They are good at hatching eggs so they are also used to hatch turkey or duck eggs.
  • Their eggs are yellowish-brown, weighing 55 to 60 grams.
  • The weight of the rooster ranges from 4.5 to 5 kilos and that of the female is 3.5 to 4.0 kilos.

One of the negative aspects of this breed is that although they are heavy hens, their meat yield is low, due to the large size of their bones. In addition, its meat tends to have a thick, rough, dark, and not very juicy texture. So many raise it as a laying hen, ornamental, or for exhibitions. Despite everything, the hens are still excellent mothers and highly broody.

Behavior of Cochin

Cochins have docile behavior, nothing aggressive. In addition, the Cochin breed is considered a good mother and therefore good at keeping their eggs. They are used to hatch the eggs of other species of poultry, such as ducks, geese, or turkeys.

Unfortunately, they are birds that are very susceptible to health problems. The Cochinchina hen tends to have heart and metabolism problems, which can be aggravated by its lazy lifestyle.

They are birds that occupy very little space since they do not require large pens to live, adapting very easily in delimited areas. They like to walk on short grass and rarely in tall vegetation, as it can damage the feathers on their feet.

Cochin Chicken Care

Despite having a large and robust appearance, the Cochin chicken has to take some special care to avoid presenting health problems. The most important recommendations are:

  • Avoid placing them in cold places or humid areas.
  • Make sure that your corral is in a place with a concrete floor, or that the soil has good drainage.
  • The Cochin does not fly, so it is enough to place a fence of 2 meters to contain them.
  • They require food that is of good quality and is not in a state of decay.
  • They can live with generally aggressive breeds.
  • Varieties of the Cochin chicken

The Cochin chicken can have a great variety in terms of its coloration. Among the colors that can be presented are black, blue, beige, partridge, gray, white, and reddish.

Cochin vs Brahma: What’s the difference

Cochinchina and Brahmaputra chickens are two closely similar breeds in terms of size and appearance but there are distinctive differences.

Breed Brahma Cochin
Hen weight 3.4 to 4 kg 3.5 kg
Rooster weight 4.5 to 5 kg 5 kg
Sexual maturity age 8 months 7 to 8 months
Average no. of eggs/year 120 to 150 pcs 100 to 120 pcs
Average egg weight 60 to 65 g 55 to go g
Egg color cream dark brown
Comb appearance pea comb single straight comb
Quality of meat thinner backbone fatty deposits, large bones

Common Questions about Cochin Chicken

Are Cochin chickens friendly?

Cochins are calm, friendly birds. Even the roosters are known for being fairly mellow.

How many eggs do Cochin chickens lay?

Cochins also only lay about 150-180 eggs per year. Their eggs are light brown, and they can be large.

What are Cochin chickens good for?

They’re considered the best fowls for hatching and brooding ducks and turkeys. Because of the size of Cochins, be cautious of hens breaking thin-shelled eggs. But of all the unique characteristics of this wonderful poultry breed, there is one that stands above all others – personality.

Are Cochin chickens a heritage breed?

The American Poultry Association recognized them in 1874. The Cochin breed is currently listed on the Heritage Breeds poultry list as “recovering.” This means that although the breed is not in danger of extinction, there are fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the United States.

Are Cochins hardy?

Typically, Cochins are an excellent cold-hardy choice with their stout, round bodies & super fluffy feathers. But when the feathers curl around and don’t lay flat against the body, they lose their insulating power.

How much does a Cochin chicken cost?

Cochin has a moderate price and costs $4-5 per chick.

Are Cochins smart?

Cochins are gentle, intelligent, hardy, great pet for families, beautiful, cold weather tolerant, enjoys being a lap pet, lay eggs until ~6 yrs of age if well kept, and get along well with the flock and other animals quite well.

What color are Cochin chickens?

Cochin Chicken: Recognized Varieties Include Buff, Partridge, White, Black, Silver Laced, Golden Laced, Blue, Brown, and Barred.

Are Cochin Bantams good mothers?

Cochins are extremely likely to sit and love to take care of their chicks. Cochins are available in both Bantam and standard sizes. Both are extremely likely to sit on their eggs and make great mothers, but the Bantams even more so

Are black Cochins rare?

Today, Cochin chickens aren’t that common in every household. But, they also are not considered rare

Are Cochin roosters nice?

Cochin roosters are one of the mellowest and friendliest breeds of roosters out there. Like hens, they tend to be very social with people and very calm.

Do Cochins have feathered feet?

Even with all that in common, it’s quite easy to tell them apart at a glance. Brahmas have feathered feet, which gives them a bell-bottom silhouette. Cochins have fully feathered legs and that makes them look like a ball.

What is the difference between Cochin and Pekin chicken?

They have no large counterparts. Pekin chicken has been mistaken for a bantam Cochin due to some similarities and origins. But they had not related to the large Cochin chicken breed and looked quite different. Even, though they come from a different place (Peking in China).

How long do Cochin bantams live?

If kept well-fed and protected, a pet Cochin should live between 8-10 years. In general, the productive life of a breeding chicken is only about 2-3 years and most serious breeders will only keep unusual or valuable birds for longer.

Does Cochin lay winter?

Chickens generally don’t lay eggs in the winter because there’s not enough sunlight to stimulate the ovary to release a yolk. New chicken keepers usually start with baby chicks in the spring. The excitement of the chicks growing into adults, and then that first egg in late summer or early fall is undeniable.

Cochin in the Philippines

Compared to Brahma, there are few Cochins in the Philippines. Because the difference between the two here is not always discussed, some people who have Cochins consider their chickens as Brahmas and priced like Brahmas.

When looking for a Cochin chicken in the Philippines, ask also those who raise Brahmas because there is a big chance that you can spot a Cochin from their flock of Brahmas especially if the color is different from the typical Buff and Light Brahmas.

Like Brahmas, Cochins are extremely expensive so think twice about your budget if you are planning to grow this type of chicken.

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